#Weekendwanderings – Bushy Park, Surrey #photos #britishwildlife

Over the summer we visited Bushy Park in Surrey and had the pleasure of meeting a couple of very friendly squirrels and their jackdaw pals. One cheeky squirrel actually took food from my hand and almost climbed onto my daughter’s lap.

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Over the years we’ve visited Bushy Park dozens of times, in all seasons. I have wonderful memories of family picnics and stalking wildlife with my camera. Today is more of a wander through my photo archive. I could fill this post with hundreds of pics of landscapes and flora and fauna, but instead I’ve picked a couple of my favourite wildlife shots (even if the quality is not perfect).

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And lastly, when I was certain the kids would join me in my love of photography…

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my wildlife photos. Look out for more pictures in the future, where I hope to focus more on the seasons at Bushy Park.

Next week I may return to another favourite pastime of mine, visiting old castles. Ludlow Castle here we come…

 

 

#Weekendwanderings Portsmouth Historic Dockyard #ships #history #photos

During the summer we paid a visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It proved to be a fun way to spend a few hours, though it did feel a little strange seeing armed police patrolling what is in effect a museum. I suppose that is just the way things are now.

Anyway, not to dwell on the state of society, the first attraction is HMS Warrior. It’s a beast of a ship and I had no chance of fitting it into one photo.

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I loved exploring the many levels inside HMS Warrior and imagining life on board.

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My favourite was the Captain’s cabin (and I think navigator’s cabin) because I could just imagine Commander Farrell from my Silent Sea Chronicles sitting in his cabin plotting his next mission to capture pirates.

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There is a boathouse where you can watch boats being built and repaired. But my favourite was this floating sail boat.

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The Mary Rose Museum houses the remains of the 16th century Tudor ship lost to the sea in 1545. The ship is stored in a temperature controlled environment, and it’s quite something to wander the levels seeing both the ship and the artefacts recovered from it.

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We managed to time our visit while the HMS Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier was there. This was the closest we managed to get, but the size of it is still very impressive.

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Finally there’s HMS Victory. We didn’t get to go inside this time, so this is the first stop on our next visit.

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It was very busy so we didn’t get to experience everything. The great thing is, your ticket allows for a second visit free of charge. So we will definitely be returning soon and hopefully I’ll get to share some more pictures.

If you get the chance, I would highly recommend a visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard – but get there early as the parking can be an issue.

Next week, I hope to share a wander around Bushy Park, Surrey and show off it’s friendly squirrels a.

#Weekendwanderings Llama Park – East Sussex #Llama #photos

For my first weekend wander in a long time, I’d like to show off a few photos from our family visit to The Llama Park in East Sussex. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours in some very beautiful English countryside.

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This Llama is very tame and friendly, and wanders loose around the grounds. There are lots of Llamas and you can even take part in a Llama walk.

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I love the cheeky little Alpacas.

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But my highlight of the day was seeing this peacock admiring his reflection, or perhaps sussing out a rival.

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Feeding time was my daughter’s highlight.

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If you are looking for a few hours of fun with some very friendly animals, check out the Llama Park.

Next week I hope to share some pictures of the historic ships at Portsmouth’s Dockyard.

#weekendwanderings – The Bishops Garden in Chichester #photos #flowers #cathedral

You may have seen my post yesterday with a wander around the cathedral of Chichester. Today I wanted to shared some pictures of the Bishops Garden, which also has some beautiful views of the cathedral. Again this is open to the public to enjoy and makes a lovely base for a picnic or just to enjoy the summer sun.

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My favourite flower here has to be the Bearded Iris.

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There is also a lot of history in Chichester. I wish we’d had time to do more, especially the 1.5 mile circular walk tracing the old wall around the city – details in the pictures below.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to visit this beautiful city, I would certainly love to go back.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

#Weekendwanderings around Chichester Cathedral #photos

A few weeks ago we paid a brief visit to Chichester and spend a lovely afternoon wandering around the city centre and its beautiful cathedral. It’s wonderful that this building’s grounds are free for the public to walk through and explore.

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A day at Falco West Sussex Falconry #photos #birdsofprey

On a beautiful, sunny Saturday a few weeks ago, I spent the morning at Falco West Sussex Falconry. It was a mother’s day / birthday treat, a chance to research for a character in one of my future books, but mainly I went because I love birds of prey!

This is Phoenix, probably my favourite bird of the day.

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I have plenty of shots of this Harris Hawk, but here are just a couple. The first is a view of it sitting on my arm.

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We also got to fly Crystal (Chrissy) the Barn Owl. She’s tiny and weighs nothing, but is a real stunner to watch fly.

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The above picture is Chrissy sitting on my hand (such a privilege).

There were lots of other owls at Falco, which were brilliant to see but unfortunately my photos aren’t good enough to share.

I love this next falcon, but admittedly can’t remember which type it is. I think it is a Saker Falcon.

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This next bird is a Hybrid bird, clearly part peregrine falcon.

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Finally, I’ve already shared a few photos of this young Buzzard on a Wordlesswednesday post. But I had to show off this photo again because it still makes me smile!

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I really recommend a falconry day if you like birds of prey. Nothing beats having one fly onto your hand and being so close to these majestic creatures.

Tomorrow’s stop on the blog tour is a guest post about ‘How writing has turned me into an obsessive learner’. I mention this experience in the post, so it seems a perfect day to share this with you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing them.

#Weekendwanderings around Arundel #photo #Arundelcastle

Last week we paid a flying visit to the beautiful town of Arundel. It is now officially my favourite place! I can’t wait to go back for a proper visit. Here are a couple of photos I’d like to share.

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By the bridge is this wonderful tile map of the river system. I’ve not seen anything like it before.

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I love the ship drawings too (I’m a bit obsessed with ships having featured them in my new book). I can see Farrell and his crew of pirate hunters at the docks trading supplies for the pirates they’ve captured.

There is so much history here, and a museum that definitely needs a visit. Below is a ruin of a Dominican Priory which sits by the River Arun.

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A couple of examples of the Tudor style buildings that are dotted around the town.

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The castle was something special and could be seen from pretty much any location in Arundel that we passed through. We didn’t get to go inside the castle this visit, but next time…

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I will do a proper feature on Arundel Castle in the autumn.

Over the next few weeks I have some more photo posts planned. Look out for Chichester and its magnificent cathedral, Bognor beach, and some more shots of my falconry day. I hope you can join me again.

Beautiful Bath, Roman Baths and Peregrines #photography #Somerset

Bath is a beautiful city and one I was lucky enough to explore for my birthday treat two weeks ago. The weather on the first evening was fantastic, and we somehow managed to plan our stay with the start of Bath’s Music and Literary festival. Music to suit any taste was played all around the city, but the drumming and dancing procession was the highlight for me. I could have followed them around all evening!

 

MOV_1499_000025MOV_1499_000103The Cathedral and Church by the Roman Baths looked beautiful in the evening sun;

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On our wander around the city I spotted this pub. It reminds me of one of my favourite characters from my new book, The Lost Sentinel – Garrick. I know from my beta readers that he’s also a favourite of theirs.

He’s partial to an ale or three, so I wonder what Garrick would make of this pub being named after him.

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The picture couldn’t be more different from my Garrick though; he’s young, big built, shaven-headed and handsome! He’s also a hero with a big heart.

The next morning the sun had disappeared, but Bath is a beautiful city to explore in any weather. Many of the roads through the city had been closed off to traffic for a bike race happening that day.

This is the Guildhall, which I’d love to see inside.

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The church we’d seen the previous evening had been open to the public so I hadn’t seen these beautiful doors.

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There was plenty to explore inside the baths too; the different bath houses, the artefacts, and videos of ancient roman life to bring the past alive.

You can also taste the natural spring water, which is said to have magic or healing properties. It was warm and had a very unique flavour – I suggest having a chewing gum at the ready!

Finally we stumbled upon a church with roosting Peregrines, which was a real bonus at the end of the trip. Despite the rain, I managed to get a couple of shots of them though the quality at such a distance wasn’t so great. Still wild Peregrines!

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There was still so much of Bath we didn’t get to explore, which gives me a perfect excuse to go back there.

I hope you enjoyed my little tour. Next time I have a mini tour of Arundel and Chichester to share. And some wonderful shots of birds of prey from my day at Falco West Sussex Falconry. What an experience that was!

Cheddar Gorge, Gough’s Cave and #Somerset #landscape #photography

With the last of my birthday’s celebrations over (almost I still have a falconry day to look forward to!) I thought it was a good time to share some of my pictures of Cheddar Gorge. This is a spectacular place to visit. Let me show you why…

Firstly there’s Gough’s cave;

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Cheddar has some brilliant stalactites (grow down from the ceiling) and stalagmites (grow up from the ground).

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Of course there has to be a picture of its famous cheese stored in the caves;

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It was amazing to see the pockets of life flourishing underground;

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The light show in the Dream Hunters cave made the day even more memorable. I would say it was even better than Gough’s cave and it’s something we hope to take the children to see very soon.

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Cheddar Gorge is a photograph’s dream. The views of Somerset are spectacular. The 3 mile (felt like 10 miles) cliff top walk is hard going but worth it.

A couple of photos from my Sony Xperia camera phone.

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The rest were taken on my old Lumix camera

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It is a wonderful place to visit and has given me plenty of inspiration for my book series – Silent Sea Chronicles, which features plenty of caves, caverns and mountain passes.

Next weekend I hope to share some pictures of Bath and its Roman Baths.

#Weekendwanderings Bedfont Lakes, Surrey #wildlife #photo #nature

We are lucky to live a short drive away from this beautiful country park in Bedfont. It has interest all year round, but I especially love to visit on cold and frosty mornings.

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Sometimes the lakes freeze over.

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I like how the sun creates long shadows at this time of year.

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A few wildlife shots.

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Swans are always so graceful and easy to capture in photographs. Whereas this little tufted duck kept diving and disappearing out of view.

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I enjoyed the challenge of trying for an underwater shot.

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Finally here are a couple of my favourite shots from a few years ago.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the little wander around Bedfont Lakes. There is much more to see, including a nature reserve area and several really good play areas and for the kids. I highly recommend a visit any time of year. Here’s a link if you want to find out more Bedfont Lakes Country Park.